Texas Longhorns open practice: Five 'Horns to watch

Hassan Ridgeway (right) at the 2012 Army Bowl - Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)

The Longhorns host their first open practice on Friday. Here are some players to watch.

The Texas Longhorns host their first open practice of the spring at 4 pm CT on Friday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and there will be a handful of players on display who either redshirted or didn't contribute much last season

Here's a look at five of those players.

Jalen Overstreet | redshirt freshman quarterback | no. 3

Perhaps no player on the entire team will be more heavily scrutinized than Overstreet, who will be making his first public appearance for Texas fans after arriving last summer and redshirting last fall. Yes, perhaps even more scrutinized than David Ash, who is much more of a known commodity than he was last spring.

There are a few trendy folks out there who like to talk about Overstreet potentially catching Ash and becoming the starting quarterback. Yes, there are actually people who believe that. They are patently ridiculous.

They are, however, right to be excited about the first viewing of Overstreet. It remains to be seen whether he will get many live carries in team drills to provide a look at his running abilities, but of more interest is how he performs as a passer, especially in regards to his accuracy, which has generally been referred to as questionable over the months that he's been in Austin.

A package of plays could be in the works for the former Tatum star. Calling it a Wildcat package doesn't seem right since he is an actual quarterback, but it would likely look similar to what David Ash was doing when he first came onto the scene as a true freshamn.

The number of reps that Overstreet gets will also receive a high level of scrutiny -- does he get more reps than Connor Brewer and Case McCoy? Even if that is the case, it might not necessarily indicate that Overstreet is in serious contention for the back-up job -- he needs the reps more than McCoy, so the coaches could just be trying to figure out what they have with the dual-threat passer.

Kendall Sanders | sophomore wide receiver| no. 2

The Longhorns are in the midst of their quest to find a true no. 3 receiver to replace Marquise Goodwin this spring and Sanders would seem like an ideal fit for a similar role because of his remarkable explosiveness, which should translate well in the perimeter run game and in the vertical passing game.

Where is Sanders slotting in terms of receiving reps with the other wide receivers and is he in the three-wide packages with the starters or is Daje Johnson currently featuring in that role as the coaches seek to refine his receiving skills to ensure that teams don't overplay the jet sweep when he's in the game.

Thing about Sanders? He's sick athletic. Check out this 62-inch box jump.

After catching only two passes for 15 yards last season, Sanders is a player to watch next fall, and that process starts on Friday.

Shiro Davis | sophomore defensive end | no. 1

Now at 236 pounds, Davis is approaching the type of mass necessarily to become more of an edge rusher. The question for him on Friday, and throughout the spring, is whether he can prove that he can do more than just use his speed to beat offensive tackles outside.

He'll benefit from the reps available with Jackson Jeffcoat limited during the spring and Reggie Wilson missing some time with an undisclosed injury that either happened after Mack Brown's press conference last week or wasn't significant enough for him to mention.

Hassan Ridgeway | redshirt freshman defensive tackle | no. 81

Wednesday's practice report on the Longhorn Network revealed that Ridgeway may now be the most physically impressive defensive tackle on the Texas roster, making him one of the most physically impressive players on the team, especially in his power lower body, which is noticeably bigger than it was a year ago.

Sorry for the spoiler on that one.

Now it's time to get a little bit of a look at how well Ridgeway is moving now that he's listed at 300 pounds. The guess here is that he has maintained a freakish amount of athleticism for someone his size. But can he still move as well as a quick-twitch defensive tackle like Chris Whaley or is he a bit slower off the ball? How is his leverage and pad level inside?

One open practice won't be able to fully answer the last question, most likely, but the weekend will provide a snapshot and the spring game should provide a little bit more information as well.

Adrian Colbert | redshirt freshman safety | no. 26

The Audit Horn may be the most jealous person in Austin on Friday as fellow Longhorn fans get a chance to watch his boy take some live reps.

There's an opening for the Mineral Wells product and former high school track star with the mostly unimpressive performances by Mykkele Thompson and Josh Turner last year, coupled with the departure of Kenny Vaccaro.

The biggest challenge for Colbert will come if Texas does one-on-one drills (which they should), which will test his technique and footwork in man-to-man coverage, perhaps an area of weakness for the raw prospect.

In any case, it will be interesting to watch Colbert move around and see how he compares in overall speed to players like Kendall Sanders and Daje Johnson -- Colbert's best race in high school was the 200m, the type of long speed that doesn't always show up on the football field to the same extent. Still, Colbert looked plenty fast in his high school highlights, so the guess is that he will show that he can move pretty darn well.

Some important notes on practice from MB-TF:

Due to the ongoing improvements being made to the stadium facilities, seating will be limited to the north end zone.

Fan should enter gates 8,14 and 25. Gates will open at 3 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday. The food court in the Red McCombs Red Zone will be open all day, but access to the seating areas will not start until the gates are opened.

There are many events surrounding the stadium on both days, so fans should expect some congestion in the area. Please allow adequate time to find parking and access into the stadium.

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